RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Santos and Botafogo hit five goals each and goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni scored one of his trademark free kicks as Sao Paulo won to stay top of the Brazilian championship on Sunday.
Santos thrashed arch-rivals Palmeiras 5-1 as Pele, their most famous former player, watched in delight from the stands. Botafogo scored four times in the first half to trounce Atletico Paranaense 5-0 away.
Sao Paulo beat Santa Cruz 3-1, Rogerio scoring his fifth goal of the competition to atone for his penalty miss in last Thursday's 1-1 draw against Fortaleza.
Two goals from central defender Luiz Alberto gave second-placed Santos a 2-1 halftime lead over Palmeiras while former Atletico Madrid and Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho Paulista levelled in between.
Santos, under former Real Madrid and Brazil coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, took control as Wellington Paulista scored twice in seven minutes during the second half before substitute Jonas completed the scoring.
Botafogo, until recently in the relegation zone, climbed to 10th after their win over Atletico, who had midfielder Christian sent off after half an hour for two bookable offences.
Lima opened the scoring in the 23rd minute before Botafogo added three goals in six minutes - two from Reinaldo and one from Ze Roberto - just before the break.
Lima fired in a rebound to complete the scoring in the 90th minute, taking his tally to four goals in two games since joining on loan from Sao Paulo.
In Recife, goalkeeper Rogerio gave Sao Paulo a first-half lead when he scored with a 20-metre free kick which found its way through the defensive wall.
Santa Cruz, bottom with 18 points, levelled when Jorge Henrique pounced on poor defending after the break, but two goals in five minutes from striker Thiago gave Sao Paulo the points.
Sao Paulo lead with 42 points from 21 games, four ahead of Santos.
Third-placed Gremio, who trail Santos on goal difference, stayed in the hunt with a 2-1 home win over Parana in a match which produced three red cards.
Angelo fired Parana ahead from a free kick in the 17th minute, Willian equalised from a corner in the 31st and Tcheco scored the winner with a controversial penalty in the 73rd.
Gremio striker German Herrera and Parana defender Edmilson were sent off for fighting and the visitors also had Edinho dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Herrera's dismissal was Gremio's 10th red card of the championship.
Champions Corinthians moved out of the relegation zone when they beat Ponte Preta 1-0 with a controversial second-half penalty converted by midfielder Marcelo Mattos.
Corinthians climbed to 15th with 26 points.
Fluminense were left waiting for their first win under Antonio Lopes, their fifth coach this year, when they were held 1-1 by Vasco da Gama at the Maracana.
Tuta clipped the ball over Cassio to put 'Flu' in front, but Vasco replied with a Morais penalty.